US actors condemn IMDb for revealing birthdates (again)

If you’ve ever visited IMDb (and frankly who hasn’t) then you would have seen the birthdate, and more specifically, the age of some of your favourite industry names.

John Cleese is 72 today, Roberto Benigni is 54, Ivan Reitman is 65.

But the website has been criticised by The Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA for revealing ages of actors because it believes it is affecting casting opportunities for their members. The problems first started a year ago.

IMDb and its owner Amazon.com have refused to delete or change the data even when requested to do so.

Talks between IMDb, SAG, AFTRA and other unnamed guilds, have now broken down.

One anonymous actress even filed a law suit claiming IMDb took information she provided when signing up for the IMDb Pro subscription service and used it to publish her age on the IMDB website.

SAG and AFTRA said they “strongly believe that businesses like IMDb have a moral and legal obligation not to facilitate age discrimination in employment.”

It isn’t readily clear how publishing factual information is ‘facilitating age discrimination’ (isn’t it the casting directors doing that?), nor the matter of hundreds of other websites, including Wikipedia, also publishing the same data.

But the guilds are defiant.

“It is time for IMDb to step up and take responsibility for the harm it has caused, and to take appropriate measures to protect entertainment industry workers, including actors, from losing jobs for the enhancement of IMDb’s financial statements,” they said.

And yes, for the record, Glee‘s Cory Monteith is really 29.

Source: Hollywood Reporter

26 Comments:

  1. In reality any court will hold that acting must be an exception to discrimination rules. It is not acceptable for somebody hiring a normal worker to say ‘I want a woman in her twenties’ – that would get them into serious trouble – but it is perfectly acceptable for a casting director to advertise this. There are few other professions where you can specify race, gender, age, disabilites even, and get away with it.

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